Through three rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions have not selected a defensive tackle. Coming into the draft, defensive tackle seemed to be one of the Lions' biggest needs considering they lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency and have not re-signed C.J. Mosley or Andre Fluellen. The Lions did add Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker, but at the very least, there's still a need for another rotational player at this position.
Going into the final day of the draft, there are still some intriguing options on the board at defensive tackle, but the Lions don't pick again until late in the fifth round. As a result, might the Lions be best served by trading up into the fourth round to fill this hole at defensive tackle? Let's look at both sides of this debate.
Case for trading up
Trading all the way up from the 32nd pick in the fifth round to somewhere in the fourth might require a future third-round pick. Normally I would be 100 percent against giving up a future pick like that, but the Lions will likely be getting a compensatory pick in the third round next year for losing Suh. They should also get a mid-round pick for losing Fairley, and they could have a couple additional compensatory picks on top of that. They also have an extra fifth-rounder next year from their trade in the first round, so there's some added flexibility when it comes to potentially trading away a future pick to move up this year.
What's more, it's unlikely that top defensive tackles like Michael Bennett and Grady Jarrett will make it out of the fourth round, let alone all the way down to the bottom of the fifth round. If the Lions want to add a defensive tackle who could step in as a rotational player and eventually develop into a starter, their best bet is trading up for one of these top guys still on the board.
Case for staying put
It would definitely be nice to get a guy like Bennett or Jarrett on Day 3, but clearly these two players aren't as highly thought of by teams as originally thought. In fact, you could say that about the defensive tackle class as a whole considering the Lions had a shot at several notable DTs on Day 2 and passed on all of them. Perhaps there isn't really that big of a difference between Bennett and the defensive tackles who will be there when the Lions go back on the clock in the fifth round.
As for the trading aspect of this, it's true that the Lions have some flexibility given how many picks they will likely have next year. However, instead of taking away some of those future picks just to move up this year, it'd be nice to just have a truckload of picks for a change. The idea of having multiple third-round picks and a double-digit number overall is very appealing, and given what it would likely cost the Lions to move up, there just doesn't seem to be a whole lot of value in making a move.
This is really a tough call. On the one hand, getting a defensive tackle originally projected to go in the second round would be nice, but is it really worth a future third-round pick? I'm ultimately going to say no. The Lions should still be able to get a worthwhile defensive tackle in the fifth round unless there is a massive run on them before then, and that seems unlikely based on what has happened so far. In the short term, filling that hole at DT in the fourth round would make sense, but taking a more long-term view, I'd rather see the Lions go into next year's draft with as many picks as possible.
What say you?